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Nursing homes face a crippling 100 percent rise in their heating bills this winter, bosses warn

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Nursing homes could close this winter as they face a crippling 100 percent increase in their heating bills, bosses warn.

Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance, said the rising price of wholesale gas could be the “straw that breaks the camel.”

On average, a care home with 50 residents spends around £50,000 a year on gas and electricity bills.

But an energy broker has predicted that the price hikes could lead to healthcare providers – who are not protected by the price cap – paying double that amount.

It comes at a time when the boss of a collapsed energy company says requests for help have “fallen on deaf ears,” despite many suppliers on the brink of administration.

The price hikes have caused seven businesses to collapse since August and have prompted a government warning to prepare for the worst.

Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance, said the rising price of wholesale gas could be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ (file photo)

Steve Silverwood, CEO of ECA Business Energy, told The Guardian: “Healthcare facilities that have not yet purchased energy for upcoming renewals will see a 100 percent increase.

‘A care home can spend £50,000 plus’ [on energy] and to double that is unbelievable.’

Mrs. Weatherby said, “It could be the drop that breaks the camel’s back.”

And Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, warned of the impact price hikes will have in the winter, when the heating is on all the time.

The comments follow Green Energy’s founder and chief executive saying that “a majority” of the 40 companies he has spoken with in recent days are likely to collapse without further government support.

His company became the fifth supplier to go bankrupt in September, as rising gas prices contributed to the crisis that engulfed the sector.

On BBC Good Morning Scotland, Peter McGirr also said a meeting with Secretary of State Kwarteng had been “pretty pointless”, suggesting that people might not be able to heat their homes in the winter and then face a huge price hike in the new year.

He said: ‘We have lobbied tirelessly with the government and, along with 14 other suppliers, wrote an open letter at the beginning of the week saying the market is in crisis, we all need help.

The price hikes have caused seven energy companies to collapse since August and trigger a government warning to prepare for the worst (file photo)

The price hikes have caused seven energy companies to collapse since August and trigger a government warning to prepare for the worst (file photo)

“Unfortunately, it has fallen on deaf ears.

“We had a roundtable with the company secretary on Tuesday when he finally listened and spoke to all the small suppliers, but we were there for an hour and it felt like we were talking for an hour about what color we should get the stables now that all the horses are bolted.

“So it was pretty pointless, to be honest.”

On Thursday, Mr Kwarteng denied being complacent about 18-month-old warnings about risks to Britain’s energy supply after 1.5 million people were left without a supplier.

With 800,000 consumers losing their suppliers on Wednesday alone, two energy companies have since tried to make it harder for new customers to sign up for their services as they try to survive the current turbulence.

Yesterday Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to Britain's energy supply after 1.5 million people were left without a supplier

Yesterday Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to Britain’s energy supply after 1.5 million people were left without a supplier

Shadow company secretary Ed Miliband quoted a letter from energy regulator Ofgem warning of a “systemic risk to the energy supply as a whole” sent 18 months ago.

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted that the details show the government “warned of an impending crisis and failed to prepare”.

But earlier in the House of Commons, Mr Kwarteng insisted that industry and the market will find the solution to the energy crisis.

Responding to an urgent question from Labour, he said: ‘The Government has been clear that consumer protection is our primary focus and shapes our entire approach to it.

‘With the energy ceiling, we continue to protect consumers.

“The solution to this crisis will be found in industry and the market, as is happening now, and the government – I repeat – will not rescue bankrupt energy companies.”

MailOnline has contacted the Ministry of Health and Social Care for comment.

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